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Old 11-03-2008, 08:35 PM   #1
Júlíus Magnússon
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Herniated Disc Victims?

I am (impatiently) trying to recover from a herniated L5-S1 and figured someone here's bound to have had to go through the same thing.

Just wanted to ask you herniated disc survivors a couple of questions.


Which disc did you herniate and when?

How long did it take you to get back to heavy snatching/squatting/whatever?

Did you ever pull as heavy as you did before you herniated the disc?

Are you ever able to go for max effort clean and jerks or deadlifts?

What were your numbers before hearniating your disc? What are they now? (Less interested in metcon times, more interested in snatch, clean and jerk, squat, deadlift et cetera.)

Any other disc herniation (is that a word? Herniated disc was starting to sound old) info? Please share.


Please comment if you're a herniated disc victim like me. I really wanna know what to expect.
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:05 AM   #2
Scott Jones
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Re: Herniated Disc Victims?

Hi Julius,

Who told you that you have a herniated disc?

What are your symptoms? (Localized to the lower back? Pain down into your butt? Pain down one or both legs? What kind of pain is it? Do you have any muscular weakness in your leg/ankle/foot?)

The reason I ask is because a lot of people are diagnosed with a herniated disc when the real culprit is actually something else.

From the research:

100 people with NO back pain received an XRay as part of a study on back pain. FIFTY of those people had a herniation, bulge, or rupture, or something else such as joint narrowing indicating that significant pain should have been present, but wasn't.

100 people with NO back pain also received an MRI. Of those 100, only 33 had normal discs at all levels. The other 67 had a herniation, bulge, rupture, signs of tearing, joint narrowing, neural impingement or something else indicating they should have had significant pain, but didn't.

My point is that if you've had an MD, DO, or Chiropracter diagnose you with a herniated disc, please consider getting a second opinion from a good physical therapist. They will likely be able to target specific structures to work on to help you get through this, as well as be able to tell you whether the disc is the actual problem.

I don't know your symptoms or the severity, but in my experience if you're willinig to be patient and have the help of a good, thorough PT, you should be able to get back to full form.

If you need suggestions on how to get the services of a good PT, you can PM me or reply here.

Hope that helps,
Scott
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:53 AM   #3
Júlíus Magnússon
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Re: Herniated Disc Victims?

Currently the pain is localized to the lower back, kind of nagging kind of pain. Around a month ago the pain lead down into my right leg (which seems to suggest herniation; the bulge pinching the nerve), so I'm definitely making process.

Actually, it was Dr. Garrett Smith on the Performance Menu forums who first suggested I had a herniated disc. Then I saw a doctor who though the same thing but had me take an MRI to be sure, which confirmed it. Since then I've been seeing a physical therapist weekly who seems to know what he's doing. But then again, I've never been to a PT before in my life, so what do I know...
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Old 11-04-2008, 08:27 AM   #4
Scott Jones
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Re: Herniated Disc Victims?

Well, if your radiculopathy is gone and the pain is localized, you should probably be getting some joint mobilization at this point to make sure the problem is not a mechanical one.

If you've plateaued in your rehab, and you've been getting ultrasound/heat/ice/electical stimulation/massage/stretching, you might want to try another therapist. Some variation of this is a typical cookie-cutter rehab session that doesn't cause any fundamental change to how the structures function.

Also, one common radiculopathy that many mistake for a disc herniation is sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction. This pain, like a disc-herniation radic, sends pain down the butt and back of the leg, sometimes as low as the upper-calf. If the pain seems very low in your back and possibly coming from an area just off to the right or left (not central), then the problem could be SI joint disfunction that needs to be corrected. A good PT should be able to check that pretty easily.

Looks like you've got some good folks involved.

Good luck.
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Old 11-05-2008, 03:37 PM   #5
Júlíus Magnússon
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Re: Herniated Disc Victims?

Thanks for the input, Scott. Are you a PT yourself? You sound pretty knowledgable about this stuff.

Anywho, seriously... Is there no one who wants to share their story here?
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:27 AM   #6
Jeff Haugland
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Re: Herniated Disc Victims?

About 2 years ago, I had the same pain you are talking about. Lower right side extending down the leg. Anyway, military doctors determined I had a bulging disc that was pinching on a nerve root. The doc said, the only reason I was feeling it was because it was pinching on a nerve root. After like 3-5 months of pain meds, anti-inflamatories, and PT with no improvement, I begged my doc for a cortisone injection... (according to him, the only other option besides the injection was surgery.)

since the injections, I have had absolutely zero back pains... I think alot of this has to do with a huge increase in my activity level helping to improve core strength.
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:06 PM   #7
Júlíus Magnússon
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Re: Herniated Disc Victims?

Thanks for the comment, Jeff. You say zero back pains, does that mean you're able to clean and deadlift to your heart's content without a worry?
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Old 11-07-2008, 02:36 AM   #8
Jeff Haugland
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Re: Herniated Disc Victims?

I have zero back pain after DL and cleans. Just the muscle soreness from the actual workout.

Sometimes in the morning I am a little tight from mma training the night before, but nothing compared to the feelings I was having pre-cortisone shot.
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Old 11-07-2008, 06:40 AM   #9
Jon Gramlich
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Re: Herniated Disc Victims?

I've herniated my L5-S1 twice now. The first time it took months to figure out what was wrong. I just wanted my leg to stop hurting. I had no idea it was really my back. Went to a ortho and got an MRI, and as listed on my films, I had a "large herniation". This was disconcerting as normally they measure in mm.

The ortho suggested surgery of course, but that made me nervous so I sought a second opinion. I got a referral to a PT and after 2-3 months of work and ibuprofen I was back to playing hockey and working out. I was not diligent about maintaining my stretching and exercises and I paid the price. Last November I re-aggrivated it and ended up in the emergency room.

This time I went to a sports-oriented chiropractor (not the alleged asthma curing type) and they did adjustments and electro-stim. Again another few weeks later I was able to move as before and got back to DL's and squats. I did have to scale back for a while as I had lost some strength, but now I am right as rain.

So, my advise, listen to your PT, do your exercises and stretching, take the AI's. Be patient and you'll get better.

Good luck.
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Old 11-07-2008, 07:03 PM   #10
Júlíus Magnússon
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Re: Herniated Disc Victims?

Thanks for the replies, guys.

Jeff, that's awesome to hear. Gives me hope I might actually get stronger than pre-herniation someday.

Jon, same thing here, basically, it took me months to come to terms with that I had not just pulled something in my back and to actually get my *** to the doctor's. Do you mind my asking what it is that you were doing once you re-aggrivated it?
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